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Arkansas Mostly Vanilla During 38-17 Victory Over Rice

Rice v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark—Things didn’t go particularly as planned on Saturday as many of us thought. If someone had told me the Arkansas Razorbacks would be down 10-7 at halftime to the Rice Owls and then 17-7 in the third quarter I probably would have laughed at you.

Soon after that the Razorback offense woke up from its nap scoring 31 unanswered points in the second half on their way to a 38-17 victory.

Head coach, Sam Pittman, wasn’t pleased with the first half. He was more less disgusted with the execution of the offense. Rhythm between quarterback KJ Jefferson and his receivers was way off with four dropped passes. Jefferson’s accuracy was also off early on but did get better in the second half. He completed 4-of-11 passes in the first half for 21 yards but finished 12-of-21 for 128 yards and a touchdown.

The offensive line did give running backs Trelon Smith and Rocket Sanders plenty of room to run. The Razorbacks grounded out 245 yards but had one long and impressive touchdown run by Jefferson subtracted due to a holding penalty.

“We did everything we could do wrong in the first half,” said Pittman.

Arkansas couldn’t establish consistency on offense but did have some players shine at certain moments. Tyson Morris’ one handed touchdown reception, Trelon Smith finding open holes and the run game were all good signs moving forward.

Defensively, the Razorbacks were very impressive. Despite a couple of targeting penalties against two star linebackers (Grant Morgan and Bumper Pool) they played a fine afternoon of ball. Arkansas kept most of the plays in front of themselves allowing only one play longer than 30 yards.

Jalen Catalon had 11 tackles on the day and two interceptions. He definitely displayed why he was named a preseason all-American. The Hogs allowed only 308 yards of offense but were on the field for 33 minutes of the game.

The Hogs gave up only 61 yards on the ground on 38 carries which is an average of 2.1 yards per rush.

Arkansas did win on Saturday and that’s all that matters according to the Head Hog.

“We will be happy about a victory. Even if we had won 45-7 or have lost we would’ve found things to get better with…,” said Pittman

The Razorbacks do have things to work on and Pittman assured us that Arkansas will play a full two halves of ball next week against Texas. They better if they plan on walking out of Razorback Stadium with a win.

UP NEXT: Arkansas plays host to the Texas Longhorns in Fayetteville next Saturday at 6 PM. The longtime Southwest Conference rivals meet for the first time in the regular season since 2008.